Installing Alpine on Mac OS X

Software

Build options available for Alpine in MacPorts
Build options available for Alpine in MacPorts

I've been asked by a few people on Twitter how I installed the lightweight Alpine console based email client on my Mac. Alpine of course is the current version of the pine email software that addressed some concerns about licencing. I love Alpine, and the logo reminds me of the classic Altavista :).

As with most free and open source software, by far the easiest way to get it running is just to install it from a package manager. You can go ahead and fetch the source tarball and do the usual ./configure, make, make install and make clean, but it does have several dependencies which in turn have several dependencies. You know what I mean.

MacPorts
For MacPorts, grab yourself the latest version and install just as you would any other Mac software that uses a setup assistant. Once you’re up and running it’s simply a matter of firing up your Terminal.app and entering in # port -v install alpine.

By entering # port variants alpine you can see all the custom options you can set. If you want to compile Alpine with one or more of these custom options, use the same install command above but append the options you want with plus signs. For example, if I wanted password files support I’d enter # port -v install alpine +passfile.

Fink
I haven’t used Fink myself much, but according to their online package manifest it is available.
NetBSD’s pkgsrc
If you use pkgsrc for Mac OS X/Darwin, Alpine can be found in the ./mail/alpine directory in your pkgsrc tree. Once you’re in the right directory, it’s the usual routine of # bmake install clean clean-depends. As with all pkgsrc packages on OS X, remember to use bmake NOT make otherwise it won’t work.

If you’re interested in trying the sophisticated and elegant pkgsrc system on your Mac, I wrote up a tutorial in a previous post you can use to get yourself up and running with it.

Happy emailing!

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and IaaS engineer in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person in bios. Wait, not BIOS… my brain should be EFI by now.

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